A Day for Women

Whether you are reading this blog post today or whether you read it tomorrow, I did not want to miss the opportunity to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is a day that has been in observance since 1911 in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Austria. Some of these countries are where you’ve lived. You may have a dream to visit one or all of these places or even move to take up permanent resident. Whatever the case may be, International Women’s Day’s main purpose was for countries to focus on one day, the same day to “press for their demands.” While the countries I just named were the leading countries, other countries in Europe were encouraged to adopt this day too. “This day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally, and it’s a call to action for gender parity.”

Over the last several years, I have become more conscious about celebrating and honoring women in history, starting with my history during Black History and Women’s History Month.

On this day of celebration for International Women’s Day coinciding with Women’s History Month in the United States, I didn’t want the day to slip away without at least acknowledging it.

As I’ve become more intentional about celebrating Women’s History Month and now shining a brighter light on International Women’s Day, it’s important for me to honor women everywhere. There are numerous sacrifices and contributions that have been made by women for centuries. I especially want the generation coming after me to appreciate, appropriate and echo our voices near and far as we champion the voices of women gone before us.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Everyone Knew

“Celebrating and Making Black Life Around Women‘s History

As the first and second month of 2021 has ended and Women’s History Month has begun, we’ve shared some major and unforgettable news and events.

On January 20th, 2021, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was sworn in as our 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris as our first woman Vice President and the first woman of color. Two weeks prior to the Inauguration, an insurrection on the Capital occurred. All the events leading up to it, sought to cast a dark and dreary shadow over democracy. President Biden and Madame Vice-President Kamala Harris won their race. They won it fair and square. The American people spoke loud and clear. It was the first unprecedented race of its kind. The most ever registered voters in history stood in line at the polls to cast their ballots. Doubt, darkness, and fear was crushed to the earth as courage walked in. 

Thursday, January 28th, around 11:00 p.m. was when I first learned the news about the death of national treasure Cicely Tyson. My first response was No! I don’t ever recall yelling a resounding no since the death of my oldest nephew’s passing. Unlike the legendary Cicely, his life was cut far too short. And, unlike the screeching bellow that filled the halls of the hospital over the death of my precious Dawon, my cry in response was not that of Cicely. Yet, I moaned. Nevertheless, the next morning, I woke up feeling like I had lost a family member; a close but distant relative.

College friends knew of my love for Cicely Tyson. I sent out a text among us sharing sadness but gratefulness too. One friend responded, “I do know how you loved yourself some Cicely Tyson. I thought you guys were family.” My response, “OMG! You’re blessing me. To think that you remembered after all these years how much I loved me some Cicely Tyson.” I went on to mention the picture I had of Cicely in my college dorm room. I shared my experience of actually waking up feeling like I had lost a family member. Finally, I said, “So girl, you are dead on today!” She said, “Everyone knew,” referring to our circle of college friends.

By wakes morning, “Everyone knew.” The world knew of Miss Tyson’s passing. If they didn’t know then, they quickly found out. News reports of every major station flooded the airwaves and stormed social media. Hailed words of honor and raw emotions by celebrities like Viola Davis, Oprah Winfrey, and Shonda Rhimes were widely expressed.

Everyone knew.

I could not imagine anyone not knowing who this 96-year-old trailblazing black beauty and cultural icon was. She had shined a film and television light for the world to see. I cannot imagine anyone across generations not knowing about this dignified and poised phenomenon. I can’t fathom anyone not seeing, hearing about, or watching her plethora of plays, film and television acumens. For example, her performance in 2013’s Broadway production, The Trip to Bountiful where she was the oldest person at 88 to ever receive a Tony Award. Other outstanding performances preceded and proceeded: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Sounder, miniseries, Roots and King; A Woman Called Moses, The Marva Collins Story, and the mother to character Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder, to name a few.

Cicely’s highest honors were when she received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2015 and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award from President Barack Obama in 2016 at age 92. After receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award, she said, “I could not ask for anything better than this.”

Two days before closing her eyes to a very full life, her memoir “Just As I Am” was released, and published only weeks before her death. It sold out on Amazon just one day after her demise. In book stores and warehouses everywhere it was sold out only days after. Miss Tyson is still pioneering even in her death. If no one knew, everyone knows now. She has left her life story with us to carry out her rich legacy.

In one of her last interviews, Gail King from CBS This Morning asked, “When the time comes, what do you want us to remember about you?” Her response, “I done my best.” Ms. Cicely have certainly done that and more.

Everyone knows.

“I was determined to do all I could to alter the narrative about Black people – to change the way Black women in particular were perceived, by reflecting our dignity.”

Cicely Tyson

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A Good Name

“A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1

Many days, months and years have faded. Those who once were are no longer. Our nearest and dearest are gone, but their presence is ever near us. Some we’ve loved intimately and others from afar off. Their timeless work is what we’ll hold near us.

During the months of May and June of 2014, we lost two national treasures: Dr. Maya Angelo and Ruby Dee. With Maya Angelo’s demise in May, the heartfelt Joy of Celebration for author, and poet phenomenon was viewed by many in June. Broadcasted across the nation, shortly thereafter, was the death of our beloved Ruby Dee, legendary stage and screen actress. The deaths of  these fine women sparked a chord of gratitude for which they have served their nation well in courage, grace and dignity. These extraordinary women’s gifts to mankind have been outstanding – rich is their legacy and longevity has had its place. In their honor, I considered other champions. It is because of the good names like Maya Angelo and Ruby Dee, the fair names of others follow suit.

In the same year, Sandra left this earth. Though not notable across the world, her name is deserving of such mention. My big sister, confidant and friend, left us on September 25, 2014. She certainly was as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Sandy, as she was affectionately called, gave tirelessly and selflessly. Although she was the true gift, she took great joy in showering family, and friends with gifts of love.

Since Sandy’s death, we’ve lost other distinguished women like the author and Pulitzer Prize Winner for Literature, Toni Morrison. And more recently, legendary actress, Cicely Tyson and Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Howbeit the generous contributions that the women in our lives have made, their names may never reach our ears from reporting news anchors. Eyes may not fall to periodical headliners about our dearly beloved. Nonetheless, they have helped shape our world and transform the lives of so many.

As the baby sister to Sandra, and the daughter of a woman named Annie who secured the strongest human presence in my life, I pray for the families who are mourning the death of a loved one.

While at times, I still moan the absence of my sister Sandra, born this first day of Black History Month, I celebrate and honor her legacy.

                   ‘Celebrating the sweet smelling fragrance of love that still lingers.” 

 

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Is Love Enough

Is love enough to hide our faces
to ship and store in faraway places

Do we live for just today, except we forget about yesterday
With the hope that all sorrow will end, never to live here again

Scattered dreams and broken promises become our feed
filling our bellies with what we don’t need

Is love enough to heal our pain
do we call what we feel by name

We settle for less while wanting more
so we look to today for our hearts core

Is love enough to wipe our tears
the raw emotions that remain unclear

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Face Down

Face down to the floor
to truth, not to be ignored

The taunting and the haunting
always ever launching
to scare the truth away

Face down to the floor
I hear you Lord, I hear you now and forevermore

Jesus, you’re real
ever so near

Face down to the floor
Push up, push down
Building up to wear my crown

Willing to fight, to win
and do it, over and over again

Face down to the floor
not in a hurry, sticking around for more

Face down to the floor
You give me wings to soar

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The Heart of a City

The heart of a city just around the corner
City of love, city of peace that runs ever deep

A fear of today for tomorrow
Wrapped in pain, ears of sorrow

Nearby doors cracked for joy
Hands drawn near to catch the tears

Knees that fall to pray
Arms stretched wide towards heavens gates

Sirens of love ring out loud as we rush into the crowd
Bearing armor of protection to cover our faces for what’s to come in nearby places

Cry out loud
Cry out loud
Lift your voices and cry out loud

 

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The Message I Bring

The message I bring is here to save us
not to tear us down but lift us

Truth always prevails
for it resides in many

Taking the message across the ocean
bringing hope that ends with a future for all

Taking the message around the world
starting at home, into the neighborhoods

Communities are broken, retreating to fear
looking for laughter, only to find tears

The name of Jesus will not get lost
its here to stay against all costs

Everyone will run near and far
to bow at His feet, Son of God

Oh Lord! Only you can save us
Repent and turn away from our sins

Jesus you’re the hope that lie within
a message of peace to mend
not that the world gives but the peace you give to the end

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Stormy Night

In the wake of a stormy night
I stand by the seashore to receive new insight

A promise that was set from the day we met
Stitched in love, spread by the blood

Taken by surprise, I looked for cover
Only to find that there was no other

You are the one I still adore
I’m running after you even the more

No time for shame or political gain
People acting like they’re insane

You are first rate
The only entrance to the heavenly gate

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A MONTH OF SANDYS

Your death took us all by surprise                                                                                                    Still drying our weeping eyes

Recovery seems an unethical myth                                                                                    Unbelievably hard to fathom even with God in the midst

Safely in His arms, you’re awake now                                                                                              Clothed in white, wearing your crown

You’re with the friend you faithfully adore                                                                                          Miss your smiling face and so much more

Sweet tea drops of love will never run dry                                                                                    Much more to see with the spiritual eye

Never to return to this world again                                                                                                Glory, Hallelujah, you win                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To dancing and celebrating, they’ll be no end

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Begin Again

Peeking it’s head from the covers of slumbering and sleepy nights
It’s eyes fixed on bright numbers as we turn away

It’s ears meet clicking and alarming sounds
Legs and arms slowly protrude as we plant our feet to a steady groove
Nostrils travel to search out meat to satisfy our soul to keep

The must do’s and the wanna do’s are endless fights
They are enemies to each other
Beholden to one and loosely cemented to the other, we fight

Fighting to breath, fighting to holdfast to our ominous position for a truce
Shrinking the duties that bound us, as our bodies lay prostrate to find peace in the light

Fallen to night, we begin again
Rising to the Son of sunlit faces, we begin again

It’s time to begin again

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